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And many a ladye there was sette,
In purple and in pall;
Was the fairest of them all.
Then many a knighte was mickle of might
Before his ladye gay; But a stranger knighte whom no man knew,
He wan the prize each day.
His hawberke and his shield;
When they came from the field.
In feats of chivalrye,
A sorrowful sight they see:
All foule of limbe and lere,
A mouth from eare to eare.
Before him came a dwarf full low,
That waited on his knee;
All wan and pale of blee.
“Behold that hend+ Soldain! Behold these heads I bear with me!
They are knights which he hath slain. “Prestlye :" quickly. + “Hend :" courteous.
“ The Eldritch knight is his own cousine,
Whom a knight of thine hath shent; And he is to come to avenge
wrong : And to thee, all thy knights among,
Defiance here hath sent.
“But yet he will appease his wrath,
Thy daughter's love to win;
Thy halls and towers must brenne.*
Or else thy daughter dear :
Thou must find him a peer.”
And in his heart was woe : “ Is there never a knighte of my round table
This matter will undergo ? “Is there never a knight amongst ye all
Will fight for my daughter and me? Whoever will fight yon grim Soldan,
Right fair his meede shall be. “For he shall have my broad lay-lands,
And of my crown be heyre ;
To be his wedded fere."
Did stand both still and pale ;
It made their hearts to quail.
* " Brenne :” burn.
All woe-begone was that fayre ladye,
When she saw no help was nigh:
And the tears gusht from her eye.
Up then stert the stranger knighte,
Sayde, Ladye, be not afraid ;
Though he's unmacklye * made.
“ And if thou wilt lend me the Eldritch sword
That lyeth within thy bowre,
Though he be stiff and stowre.”
“Goe fetch him down the Eldritch sword,”
The king he cried, “ with speed :
My daughter is thy meed."
And said, “Away! away!
Thou lettest + me here all day!”
Then forth the stranger knight he came,
In his black armour dight; The ladye sighed a gentle sigh,
“That this were my true knight!”
And now the giant and knight be met,
Within the lists sae broad;
They gan to lay on load. * “Unmacklye:” misshapen. 7 "Lettest:" hinderest. The Soldan struck the knight a stroke
That made him reel aside ;
And thrice she deeply sighd.
The Soldan struck a second stroke,
And made the bloude to flow;
And thrice she wept for woe.
The Soldan struck a third fell stroke,
Which brought the knight on his knee: Sad sorrow pierced that ladye's heart,
And she shriekt loud shriekings three.
The length he leapt upon his feet,
All reckless of the pain ;
Or else I shall be slain.”
He grasped his sword with mayne and mighte,
And spying a secret part,
And pierced him to the heart.
Then all the people gave a shout,
When they saw the Soldan fall; The ladye wept and thanked Christ,
That had rescued her from thrall.
And now the king, with all his barons,
from off his seat, And down he stepped into the lists,
That courteous knighte to greet:
But he, for pain and lacke of bloude,
Was fallen into a swound,
Lay lifeless on the ground.
“Come down, come down, my daughter dear,
Thou art a leech of skill;
Than this good knight should spille.”
Down then steppeth that fayre ladye,
To help him if she may; But when she did his beaver raise, “It is my life, my lord !” she says,
And shriekt and swound away.
Sir Cauline just lift up his eyes,
When he heard his ladye cry: “O ladye, I am thine own true love; For thee I wisht to dye.”
Then giving her one parting look,
He closed his eyes in death, Ere Christabelle, that ladye mild,
Began to draw her breath.
But when she found her comelye knight
Indeed was dead and gone,
And thus she made her moan :
“O stay, my dear and only lord,
For me, thy faithfulle feere ; 'Tis meet that I sholde follow thee,
Who hast bought my love soe dear!”